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Committee to hear bill on closing mine forest

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Legislators are set to listen to the public sound off on a plan to close the woods around a mine site in far northern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite wants to dig a 4½-mile-long iron mine in the Penokee Hills. Opponents fear the mine will pollute the pristine region. Protesters emerged from the woods around the site in June and accosted mine workers, prompting Gogebic Taconite to hire paramilitary-style guards.

The woods around the site are part of the state managed forest program, which ensures the land remains open for recreation.

Republican Sens. Tom Tiffany and Glenn Grothman have introduced a bill that would close the forest to recreation until Gogebic Taconite obtains a final mining permit. The Senate mining committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday.

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